Okay, weirdos, you’re gonna love the weirdness I’ve got for you today: Synthetic Colours Beneath the Mango Tree.
Frontman Austin Kowalczyk presents here a strange mix of Neutral Milk Hotel-style dark weirditude with sometimes disturbing dream-like images (“Superman’s dead, he’s buried in the water, he ate is own heart, now who can save us?”) and Brian Eno-meets-Animal Collective synthetic ambience.
The first four tracks sound like freak-folk-punk drenched in molasses. Kowalczyk draws you in on “Intro” with his rough melodic voice (“let’s say we build another sky, and hold the postman high beneath the mango tree, where flowers burn, synthetic colours yearn, yearn for burning, taste so sweet”), emerging from sweet piano notes and a syrupy chord progression (not to mention the double name drop what whaaaaaaat). In the fourth track, “2011,” he is joined by the angelic Yvonne M. Eadon on vocals as the song crescendos into a chaotic and desperate plea: “I cannot wake up, would you help me wake up, this dream is all I can take.”
The final four tracks take an unexpected turn toward the ambient, starting with “Mango’s Theme (from the mouth of the King Lizard King),” which consists of little more than ghostly synth sounds and a spacey harp for five and a half minutes. Next comes “Happy,” which is probably my favourite song on the album. Returning to the freak folk sound, but losing the syrupy aspect, Kowalczyk makes you question his sanity (“the whispers, the echoes, the shadows, they made me do it”):
The final song, “Animism,” is a fourteen minute long tribute to ambient lord Brian Eno, and an unexpectedly perfect way to top of the album, summing up the strange experience of all that came before in one long stream of ambient consciousness. Beneath the Mango Tree is weird, poetic, dark, and unique, and totally worth a solid listen. I’m super excited to hear what Synthetic Colours comes up with next, and you should be too. Go show them your support on Facebook and Bandcamp!